An exposition of the prophesie of Hosea begun in divers lectures vpon the first three chapters, at Michaels Cornhill, London
Burroughs, Jeremiah, 1599-1646.

The Seventeenth Lecture.

HOSEA 2. 19. 20.

And I will betroth thee unto me for ever, yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgement, & in loving kindnes, & in mercies.

I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness, & thou shalt know the Lord.

BUt how betroth? (this phrase seems to be very strange) she had been the wife of God before, and was gone a whoring from him; though God should be reconciled to her, one would have thought it should rather have been, I will re∣ceive you againe, No, but I will betroth you. The reason of the phrase is, to note that God would receive her with that love as if she had been a pure virgin, and he would never upbraid her former departing from him: you have beene an adulteresse, beare your shame, but for my own Names sake I will be content to receive you again, No, but I will beroth you unto me, you shall be as now taken to me, and your sins shall be no more remembred, they shall be as if they had never been committed.* When God pardoneth sin he will remember it no more, the Lord will never charge upon sinners their former sins. And if God will not remember the sins of his people, of his repenting people, to charge them upon them, we should not remember them, to up brayd them for them; what ever they have been before, if now converted, it is too much boldnesse in any of us to upbraid them for any of their former sins. I remember Beza tells of himselfe, that the Papists upbraided him much for the sinnes of his youth, for his lascivious Poems he made before his conversion; but Beza answers them thus, Hi homines invident mihi graciam divinam, these men envy me the grace of God.

Page  428 I will betroth thee unto mee,* yea I will betroth thee unto me, I will even betroth thee unto me.

The repenting Church might say, How is it possible that such an adulte∣resse who hath been so vile, who hath been so impudent in her wayes of for∣saking the blessed God, her glorious husband, who hath so long continued in filthy whordoms, should yet expect to receive mercy? What, this mer∣cy, to be betrothed to God, to be taken as if she were a chast Spouse before him? Yes saith God, I will do it, and therefore it is repeated three times for the assurance of the humbled repenting Church that God will again betroth himselfe unto her, and that with some Emphasis, I will betroth, yea I will betroth, even I will betroth: there is betrething, and betrothing, and betro∣thing, and I, and I, and I, shewing how much the heart of God is in this thing. As if God should have said, Though you think such a thing can never be, you see nothing but cause of doubting and discouragement in your selves, but I wil doe it, yea I wil doe it, and it is thus repeated to note also the excellency of the mercy that is in it.

It is an excellent mercy indeed that the Lord will take a people into so neer a communion with himselfe, from this mercy floweth most glorious mer∣cies, I will doe this saith God, I need say no more, here is mercy enough to satisfie any soule living, I will doe it, I will doe it, I will doe it.

But will this mercy hold? will it hold? I have already apostatized from the Lord, I have still an apostatizing heart, & am like to fall off from God a∣gaine, and so may condition is like to be worse then ever yet it was; no saith God, I will betroth you unto my selfe for ever, my heart shal bee for ever towards you, and your heart shall be for ever towards me, there shall never bee any breach of conjugal love and communion betweene you and I any more.

[ 2] But the Lord is a righteous God, he is a God of infinite justice, and I have most fearfully sinned against him, oh the hideous sins that I stand guilty of before him! how shall that infinite justice of God be satisfied for my sinnes? this is the care of a repenting heart, not onely to obtain mercy for pardon, but how shall that justice of God be satisfied? Yes saith God, I will have a way for that too, though you have been very sinful, yet when I receive you to mercy, it shall be in such a way as I will be righteous, as wel as gracious, I wil doe it in righteousnesse, it shal be no dishonour at all to my righteous∣nesse, that I take you again to my self. And I wil put such a righteous frame into your hearts, that it shal be no scandal unto me before the Nations that I have betrothed such a one as you unto my selfe.

[ 3] But what reason can there possible be that God should do thus? how can it be imagined that ever the Lord should do such a thing as this? God hath ten thousand wayes to honour himselfe, though we perish for ever, no peo∣ple have ever provoked him as wee have done saith this repenting Israel.

Well saith GOD, though you know no reason why it should be done, yea indeed though there bee no reason at all in your selves, yet that which Page  429 I will doe, I will doe it in judgment too, I know a reason why I will do it, it is not a rash thing that I shall do, I will do it in judgement, it is no other thing that now I promise you, but that I have exercised my wisdome about from all eternity, it is not onely a worke of my grace and mercy toward you, but it is a work of my wisdome too, and there will one day appeare a glori∣ous shine of wisdome in this my work of taking you unto my selfe again, I know what I do in it, yea and on your part though hitherto you have seene no such excellency in my wayesto cleave to them, but you have departed from them, and followed other lovers, yet I shall when I come in wayes of mercy to you, convince you so of the vanity of all other things your hearts runne after, and of that fulnesse of good there is in me to satisfie your soules for ever, that you shal see infinite reason to joine your selves unto me in an e∣verlasting covenant. You though there were some more specious shews in wayes of false worship, but when you shal be reconciled, you shal see there is infinite reason in those wayes of worship your soules have heretofore re∣jected, you shal not only have your affections a little stirred, and have some heate for the present, but that change that shal be in you shal be out of judg∣ment, I will betroth you unto me in judgement, in judgement on my part. I will have reason for what I doe, and in judgement on your part, you shall see reason for what you doe, you shal see so much reason in comming in to me, that you shall admire at the former folly of your hearts, when you de∣parted from me, and sought your comforts else-where. The workings of my heart shal be in judgment toward you, and the workings of your hearts shal be in judgment toward me.

But take it at best that my heart doth indeed come in to God, yet I shall [ 4] remain a poor, sinful, weak creature, there will hang upon me many infir∣mities that will be grievous to the Spirit of the holy and just God. Well saith God, I will betroth you unto me in loving kindnesse. I wil deale gently and favourably with you, I will not take advantage of your failings and infirmi∣ties, I will remember you are but flesh, I will have a tender respect to you.

But it may be there will not onely bee some ordinary infirmities which [ 5] may be grievous enough to the Spirit of God, but I may perhaps fall into grievous offences that will provoke the Spirit of God bitterly against mee, and so I shall fall into as woful, yea worse condition then before: No saith God, I will betroth you unto me in mercy as well as in loving kindnesse, my bowels of mercy shall yearn toward you, not only to passe over lesser infir∣mities, but to swallow up greater iniquities. And accordingly I will worke in you gracious dispositions of loving kindnesse towards mee, you shall have a most sweete and ingenuous disposition of spirit, you shall doe what you doe for mee out of principles of love, out of abundance of sweet∣nesse in all your ways, that perverse, surly, crooked, sowr spirit of yours towards me shall be changed into a sweet, gentle, gracious frame. And this sweetenesse and loving kindenesse shall be in you toward one another, you shall have your hearts changed that were so rugged, and so harsh, and Page  430 peevish toward one another afore, when I am once reconciled unto you, you shall be reconciled one to another. And you shall have bowels of mercy, as my bowels shall yerne towards you, so your bowels shall yern toward me, as it shall pity my soule to see you in misery, so it shall pity your soule to see me dishonoured, and you shall have bowels likewise one toward another, pitying one another, and helping, and relieving one another in the greatest straits, I will betroth you unto me in loving kindnesse and in mercy.

But there are many glorious promises that we find God made to his peo∣ple, [ 6] surely according to what wee read in his word there are great things to be done for them, shall ever these promises be made good unto us? If wee may have mercy, though we be never so low, if Gods loving kindnesse be manifested unto s in a way of reconciliation, though wee be but hired ser∣vants; if we may be Spouses, though we be kept hardly, it will be well with us: But saith God, there are glorious promises made to the Church, and I will fulfill them all unto you; though you have departed from me, and pro∣voked me against you, yet upon your returning you shall be so received, as to have interest in all the precious, gracious, glorious promises I have made to the Church, I will make them all good to you, for I will betroth my selfe unto you in faithfulnesse, as well as in mercy; looke what ever I have said concerning my Church, that is yours to be made good to the uttermost, and there is nothing that can be for your good, that concerns me as a loving hus∣band to doe, but you shall be sure to have it: And as for you, howsoever your hearts have been hitherto unfaithful towards me in departing from me, yet now you shall have put into you a faithful spirit, there shall be faithful∣fulnesse on your part as well as on mine, so as my heart shall confide in you, you shall not deale falsely with mee as before; your hearts shall confide in me, that I will deale faithfully with you, and my heart shall confide in you, that you will deale faithfully with me, so that whatsoever befalls you, yet you shall be faithfull to me, and faithfull one to another, so as your hearts shall trust one in another. I will betroth you unto me in faithfulnesse.

And whereas it is but little that yet you have known of me, and this in∣deed [ 7] hath been the cause of all your vile departings from mee, because you have not known me the Lord, therefore you shall know the Lord; know him in another manner then ever yet you knew him; I will shew my glory to you, I will open my very heart to you, the secret of the Lord shall be with you, you shall all know me, though your parts be but weak and meane, yet you shall be taught of God; perhaps you may be ignorant of other things, but you shall know the Lord.

And as for outward blessings, you shall have your fill of them too, all the [ 8] creatures shall be moved towards you to comfort you, to succour you; Let Iezreelory to the corne, the corne shall cry to the earth, and the earth shall heare the corne, the earth shall cry to the heavens, the heavens shall heare the earth, and the heavens shall cry to me, and I will heare the hea∣vens; There shall be in them, 1 a readinesse to help, 2 a greedinesse to re∣lieve Page  431 you; yea 3 a concatenation of them all, 4 and I will joyn them for the good of Iezreel.

[ 9] But yet we are a people scattered about the world, and most of us are con∣sumed: but, I will sow her unto me in the earth; you were scattered, this is a judgment, but now it is turned to a mercy, your scattering is as seed, you shall fructifie, & encrease abundantly, & so be a blessing to the whole earth.

But we have lien underthe curse of God a great while, and have seemed to be rejected; but saith God, I will have mercy upon her that had not ob∣tained [ 10] mercy.

Lastly, we are a proverb uuto all the world (as you know the Jewes are) [ 11] we are a by-word, a scorn, a reproach amongst all people, they say, God had rejected us, and so trample upon us: No saith God, I will not onely betroth you to my selfe, but it shall appeare to all the world you are my peo∣ple, I will say to you which were not my people, you are my people; though you be a people scorned and vilified in the world, yet I will owne you, and it shall appeare so, your low and miserable condition shall not hinder me from saying, you are my people: and as for you, whatsoever you shall meet withall in my wayes, whatsoever you suffer for my worship, though it be scorned and despised in the world, yet you shal own it before the world, and you shall say, Thou art my God.

Thus you have a short paraphrase upon this gracious expression of God to his reconciled people. You have here but a flash of this mercie of the Lord to his Saints.

But when was all this fulfilled you will say? or is it to be fulfilled? to what times does this prophesie refer?*

There is in part the making good this prophesie, when ever a soule is brought into the embracing the Gospel; but the height of this shall be at the calling of the Jewes,* then not only the spiritual estate of particular converted soules shal bee thus happy, but the Church state shal bee thus, the visible Church shal be betrothed unto the Lord for ever. We cannot say so of any visible Church here, there is no visible Church but may fall off from the vi∣sibility of it, but when God shal bring in the Iewes, they shall never fall off from the visibility of their Church-communion. Revel. 21. 2. seemeth to have reference to this prophesie. And I John saw the holy City, new Jeru∣salem, coming down from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husb∣and: And I heard a great voyce out of heaven, saying, Behold the Taber∣nacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. This hath almost the same words that wee have here in this prophesie that is to be ful∣filled in that glorious Church-estate, that shal bee when God calls home to himselfe his own people: Mark there, God himself shall be with them; God is always with his people; but God himselfe, that is, a more especiall, and immediate, and full presence of God shall be with them. But the words must have yet a more full search into them I will betroth thee.]

Page  432 The Scripture makes much mention of Espousals and of marriage, to ex∣presse the great mysterie of the grace of God to his people. The holy Ghost seems to delight much in this Allegory: there is none more frequent in Scrip∣ture then it, which is a very great honour to a married condition: And such ought to be the lives of those that are in a married condition, as much as may be to resemble the blessednesse of the condition of a people reconciled unto God, for in all similitudes there must be something in the thing to resemble that which it is brought for. Married people should so live, as all that be∣hold the sweetnesse, the happinesse of their lives, may be put in mind thereby of that sweetnes & happiness there is in the Churches comunion with Jesus Christ. I appeale to you, are your lives thus? Now in a married condition there are these foure things most remarkable. First, There is the neerest uni∣no that can be, They two shal be made oneflesh; this is the power of God in an Ordinance, consider it, two that not perhaps a month before were stran∣gers one to another, never saw the faces one of another, did not know that there were such in the world, if they come under this ordinance, though it be but a civill ordinance,* these two shal now be neerer one to another then the child that came out of the fathers loynes, or out of the bowels of the mother, the fruite of the wombe shall not be so neere now to thee, nor must it love thee so much as this party, that not long since it was a meere stranger unto.

Whence cometh this but meerly from the power of an Ordinance? One would thinke that the affection of a mother to the fruite of her own bowels should be more then it were possible for her to have to a stranger she had never seen before in her life; but it is not so, when a woman cometh under this Ordinance, she now commeth to have (according to that which is her duty) more affection to one that was ere while a stranger, then to the child that came forth of her owne bowels, so a man then to one that came out of his owne loynes. Here is the power of Gods Ordinance, though but civill.

Now then if an Ordinance of God, though but civill, hath such an effica∣cy in it, what efficacy have divine Ordinances then? Certainly they have mighty efficacy upon the soule when they are administred in the way of God. So it is here, I will betroth thee; as if God should say, thou wast not long since as a stranger unto me, one cast off, yea thou wast as an enemy un∣to me, but now all the creatures in heaven and in earth, the very Angels themselves shall not be more deare unto me, in a nearer communion then you. This is true of a wretched sinfull creature that hath not onely been as a stranger unto God, but an enemy unto him, he cometh now upon conver∣sion and union with Christ, to be in a nearer conjunction and further com∣munion with God then the very Angels in heaven are in some regard, for they are never said to be the Spouse of the Son of God so as the Saints are.

This is the mighty power and love of God in uniting his Saints to his Son.

Secondly,* There is in nothing in the world that full communication of one [ 2] creature to another, as there is in that condition of marriage; so in our spi∣ritual marriage with Christ, there is an inconceiveable communion of one to another ••ally,

Page  433 God hath two wayes of communication of himselfe, one is infinite, that is to his Son in that inconceivable mysterie of the generation of the Son; he hath other wayes of communication of himself after a finite manner; but of al the finite ways this is the greatest, his comunication of himself to his Saints in Christ; God hath no such comunication of himself to all the creatures, as he hath to his Saints in his Son. God in comparison communicateth lit∣tle or nothing of himself to the frame of heaven & earth, so as he doth to any one of his Saints. So far as there wants communion in a married estate, so far there wants the blessing of it, it should be full: The communion of God to his Church is a full communion, his wisdome, power, riches are made o∣ver to the Saints, the merits, the righteousnesse of Christ are made all over to them.

This is mutuall, there is no such communication of any creature to ano∣ther, as there is of the hearts of the Saints to God; one converted to God, lets out his heart into God in a fuller way then any creature can let out it selfe to another creature. Suppose all the creatures in the world should have their beauty and excellency put together in one, and present it self wholly unto thee to be an object of thy delight, yet it were not possible that thou shouldst communicate thy self so fully to it, as thy soul will communicate it selfe to God upon thy conversion. The soul gives up it selfe to God, as into an infi∣nite ocean of goodnesse, so as it would not retaine any thing of its owne, as a drop of water into a tun of wine, it retains not its savour or colour that it had before, but it is as it were turned into wine. And hereby you may know whether your conversion be right yea or no, As that which is Christs com∣eth to be thine, so that which is thine cometh again to be Christs. My be∣loved is mine, and I am his, saith the Church. Hence it is that the honour that Christ the Husband hath, reflects upon the Saints; they shine with the brightnesse of his beams. Esay 43. 4. Since thou wast precious in my sight thou becamest honourable. It was wont to be the custome among the Ro∣manes in their marriages, when the wife was brought home, she had this speech,* Where you are Caus, I am Caja. How meane soever the woman was before, yet being married, she partakes of the honour of her husband. So the Saints, whatsoever they were before, they are now looked upon as ho∣nourable in the eyes of the Father, in the eyes of Christ, in the eyes of the ho∣ly Ghost, aud in the eyes of the Angels and the rest of the Saints, who are a∣ble to discerne their excellency. And so on the other side, (for still it is mutu∣all) as the Church hath honour from the lustre of the beams of Christs glo∣ry, so even the Church is a glory unto Christ. As the Scripture saith, The wife is the glory of the man. (which place heretofore you have had opened unto you) so the truth is, the Church is the glory of Christ. How is that? you will say: It is true, Christ is the glory of the Church, but that the Church who is a company of poore creatures should be the glory of Christ, how can that be? yes, it is so, Christ accounteth himselfe glorified before the Fa∣ther, that he hath such a Spouse.

Page  434 Mark that place, 2 Cor. 8. 23. Whether you inquire of Titus, he is my part∣ner, or of our brethren, the messengers of the Churches, the glory of Christ, Titus and the brethren are there called the glory of Christ. And Ephes. 1. 23. the Church is said to be the fulnesse of him that filleth all in all. How∣soever we are to be low in our own eies, yet this is certaine, that it is the glo∣ry of Christ before the Father and the blessed Angels, that he hath such a Spouse as he hath. Hence Rev. 21. 9. Come, Behold the Bride, the Lambs wife: The very Angels rejoice in this, O come, behold the Bride, the Lambs wife. Certainly had it not been for the glory of Christ, the Angels would not in such a triumphing way have called all to behold the Bride the Lambs wife. They call to behold the glory of Christ in his Bride, Psalm, 45. the Church is described to be brought in to the King all glorious and beautiful, with arament of needle-worke, &c. Christ rejoyceth, and his very heart even springs againe to present his Church unto his Father, Father here be∣hold my Spouse that I have married unto my selfe. It is true, a childe may sometimes marry against his fathers consent, such a one as he may be asha∣med to think of bringing to his fathers house, because she will be a disgrace to his father and his friends: But how mean and sinfull soever we are in our selves, when once we are betrothed unto Christ, he will not thinke it any dishonour, no not before his Father, that he hath such a Spouse, but he will account it his glory before him and the blessed Angels, that he hath betro∣thed her unto himself.* And again, this communion makes the Afflictions of Christ the Churches afflictions, and the afflictions of the Church the afflic∣tions of Christ. There is a communion in evill things as well as in good. The very sins of the Church come to be charged upon Christ; as a woman that was in debt before maryage and so subject to arrests, if she be once mary∣ed she is no more troubled with the Serjeants, none can arrest her, but all the debts are charged upon the man: so though we be in debt, owing a debt of punishment because we have not payed the debt of obedience, and while we are out of Christ, before this blessed marriage, we may feare every moment to have some sergeant of the Lord upon us to arrest us, to hale us to prison, there to lye untill we have paid the uttermost farthing; but when the soul is married unto Christ, all debts, all sinnes are all transacted upon Christ, all charged upon him, if the law come now and require satisfaction, if justice comes you may send them unto your husband to answer all, and he will not take it ill. A husband perhaps may take it ill, and thinke he hath brought himself to misery, when arrests come upon him for his wives debts, it may take off his heart from her, but Christ will never love you the worse for all your debts when they are charged upon him, he will willingly satisfie them, and he will rejoyce in the satisfaction of them before his Father. And if there be any affliction befall you, Christ is afflicted with you. Esay 63. 9. In all their afflictions be was afflicted. So on the other side, all the afflictions of Christ are the afflictions of the Church; doth Christ suffer? you take it un∣to heart as if it were your own suffering. Christ takes your sufferings unto heart, as if 〈…〉 his own; 〈◊〉

Page  435 And you take the sufferings of Christ unto heart as if they were your owne.

Thirdly, In a married condition there is a mutuall intire love. That is,

First,* loving the person more then what cometh from him. True conju∣gall [ 1] love is pitched upon the persons mutually, rather then upon the estates, or any thing they enjoy by the person. So on Christs part, his love is pitch∣ed upon the persons of the Saints, Christ loves your persons more then al your actions. It is true, all these gracious actions you doe are lovely before Christ, for they ate the fruits of his spirit, but know, the pitch of Christs love is upon your persons chiefly. So the pitch of your love, if it be a right con∣jugall love, is upon the person of Christ rather then upon any thing that comes from him; thou seest him altogether lovely in himselfe, besides those riches of pardon of sin and precious promises that thou enjoyest by him, his person is that which satisfies thy soule.

[ 2] Secondly, In prising the love each of other, true love can be satisfied witht nothing else but love, love villifies every thing that is tendered, except it comes as a fruit of love, and if there be love, a little is highly prized, if it be but a cup of cold water, it is more then a kingdome without it, the giving the body to be burned is nothing without it. I will give you two Scriptures, one wherein the Saints prize Gods love, the other wherein God prizes the Saints love, Psal. 36. 7. How excellent is thy loving kindnesse O God. Psal. 91. 14. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I delier him, I will set him on high.

[ 3] Thirdly, This intire love is a love in all conditions. Christ loves his Church in their afflictions as intirely as he doth out of their afflictions. Deut. 32. 10. He found him in a desart land, and in the wast howling wildernesse, he led him about, he instructed him, hee kept him as the apple of his eye. Marke, they were in the wildernesse, in the wast howling wildernesse, yet even there they were deare unto Christ, they were kept as the apple of his eye. The Church on the other side looks upon Christ in his afflictions as lovely still as ever, Cant. 1. 12. A bundle of myrrhe is my well beloved unto me, he shal lie all night betwixt my breasts. Myrrhe is a bitter thing, yet the Church profess∣eth that Christ though bitter in his afflictions, should lie as lovely betweene her breasts as a bundle of myrrhe. I remember Herodotus reports of one Artemesia, Queen of Halicarnaffus (and Plinie speaks something of her too) when her husband was dead, she took his ashes & drank it in wine out of respect to him though dead. The Church loveth a crucified Christ as well as a glorified Christ. A most notable example of the love of a Spouse to her husband wee have in our English Chronicle, Elenor the wife of Ed∣ward the first, the King having got a wound by a poysoned dagger, she to shew the intire love she bare to her husband, because she thought if the poy∣son did stay a while in the wound there would be no cure, therefore with her own mouth she sucked out the poyson that was in the wound, & so ventured the losse of her own life to preserve her husbands. Here was love in a Spouse to her husband. There is the like love of the Church unto Christ, if Christ Page  436 be wounded with the poysonous tongues of ungodly men in reproaches and blasphemies,* let him be never so persecuted in the world, they that are tru∣ly gracious are willing to suck in that very poyson to themselves, so they may take it from him. Let the reproaches of Christ fall upon me, O let me suffer rather then Christ. It was Ambrose his wish, Oh that God would turne all the adversaries of the Church upon me, that they might turne all their weapons upon me, and satisfie their thirst with my blood, this is the disposition of a true spouse of Christ.

The fourth is unspeakable delight; communion hath delight: the greatest communion, the greatest delight: the greatest delight that God hath is to communicate himselfe, to his Son firstly, and next in letting out himselfe to his Saints. If there be delight in God in letting out himself to the Saints, in reason one would thinke there must needs be delight in the Saints, in letting themselves out into God, in flowing into God. God takes such delight in letting out his mercy to his Saints, as that he was well pleased with the death of his own Son as a meanes conducing thereunto. One would thinke that the death of Christ should be the most abhorring to the heart of God of a∣ny [ 4] thing in the world,* yet the Scripture saith God was well pleased with it, Esay, 53. 10. Why was God pleased with it? Because the Lord saw this was the way for him to communicate himself in the fulnesse of his grace un∣to his Church, and therefore though it cost him so deare as the death of his own Son, yet he was well pleased with it. And as for Christ, he takes delight in letting out himself to his people, after he had suffered, the Text saith, he was satisfied when he saw of the travell of his soul. As if Christ had said, O let me have a Church to communicate my self unto, though I see it hath cost me my blood, it hath cost me all these fearfull sufferings, yet I am satisfied, I thinke all is well bestowed, so I may have a people to partake of my love and mercy for ever. Cant. 4. 9. Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse, thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes. Then for the Saints, the delight they have in communicating themselves unto Christ is un∣utterable. Stay me with flaeggons, comfort me with apples, for I am sick of love, saith the Church, Cantic, 2. 5. Psal. 63. 5. My soul shall be satisfied with marrow and fatnesse, and my mouth shall praise thee with joyfull lips, when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate of thee in the night wat∣ches.

Take this note, the more fully you lay out your selves for Christ, the more comfort you shall have in your lives. Here is the great difference be∣tween hypocrites and others in the comfort of their lives. It is impossible that any hypocrite can have that comfort in his life as a gracious heart can have, upon this ground, because a hypocrite reserveth somewhat of himself for something else, there is not a full comunication of himself unto Christ, he alwayes keepes somewhat back and thereby loseth his comfort: But a gracious heart fully letting out himselfe into Christ, from thence cometh the comfort, & sweetness that he hath in the ways of Christ above all hypocrites in the world.

Page  437 Perhaps you thinke that the onely comfort you can have is by receiving some benefit, some mercy from God, you are much mistaken, the comfort of letting your hearts out to God, is a greater comfort then any comfort you have in receiving any thing from God.

And now, Oh how happy are they unto whom Christ is thus espoused! How comfortably may you live being made sure to Christ? and how com∣fortably may you die? It is our work to seeke to draw soules to Christ, to allure soules to be in love with him. Gen. 24. 35. You may see what course Abrahams servant took in drawing the love of Rebekah and her friends to his Masters son, he begins wih telling them that he is the servant of Abra∣ham, and that the Lord had blessed his Master greatly, so that he was become great, and that the Lord had given him flocks, and herds, and silver, & gold, and that he had an onely soone that was to be heire of all this. This is the work of Ministers, to tell people what riches of mercy there are in God, and that all the treasures of those infinite riches of the infinite God are in JE∣SUS CHRIST and to be let out in him, this gaines the heart. Yea it is not onely the work of Ministers, but it should be worke of every gracious heart thus to seek to draw souls to Christ, as Rev. 22. 17. not onely the An∣gels there say Come, but the Bride saith Come, and let him that hea eth say Come, and let him that is a thirst come, and whosoever will let him take the water of life freely.

VVere I not in such a way of explication as I am, surely wee could not get off such a point as this; but that which I shall say for the present is onely this. Know that it is not want of any worth in you that can hinder commu∣nion with Jesus Christ, doe not reason in that manner. I am a poor wretch∣ed sinfull creature, will ever Christ be married unto me? It is not thy sinful∣nesse, it is not thy base condition that can hinder thee; Christ never joynes himselfe to any because they are worthy, but he joynes himself to them that they may be worthy, hee makes them to be worthy in joyning himselfe un∣to them. The woman is not married unto the King, because she is a Queen, but the King maryeth her, to make her a Queene. And further know, if your hearts be not taken with Christ to joyne with him in his holy mariage, if he be not your husband to enjoy conjugall communion with you, he will be your judge to condemn you. But besides this betrothing between Christ & a soul, there is a betrothing between Christ & a visible Church, especial∣ly the Church of the Jews when they shall be called.

God shal appeare in his glory when this maryage shall be between Christ and the Jewish Church, the King will then be in his Robes, if a man of e∣state have a sonne to marry,* and intends to solemnize the maryage accord∣ing to his estate, if he have any better cloathes then other, he puts them on that day; so at the calling of the Jewes, the King of heaven will be in his robes; God will appeare in a most glorious manner to the world then e∣he did since the creation. Yea and you know the Bridegroome too will be very fine upon the mariage day; so Jesus Christ will then appeare, Page  438 (whether personally or otherwise wee say not) but certainly hee will glori∣ously appeare at that day. Tit. 2. 15. We looke for the glorious appearance of the great God, and our Saviour jess Christ. And 2 Thes. 1. 10. Christ shall come so as to be admired in all them that believe; the Church like∣wise shall then be arrayed in her fine cloaths, shee shall be then cloathed in white cleane, and fine linen, as it is Rev. 19. 8. all in the righteousness of Christ, the great doctrine of justification by Christ shall be made out full and cleare. Yea and the creatures, her servants, shall put on the best ray∣ment, as in a great marriage the servants in the house have new cloathes, at that day there will be a change in all the creatures, and another kind of face in the world then now there is. Then will be the marriage supper, and hap∣py shall those be that shall then be found worthy to enter into the bed-cham∣ber; let us now love Christ, let us now cleave to him, let us now suffer for him; we may perhaps be some of those, who beside our eternal enjoyment of christ in heaven, may enjoy him in this mariage upon the earth. But we must leave this argument, we spake something of it in the end of the first chapter.

And I will betroth thee unto me for ever.

[For ever.] This adds to the mercy to make it glorious, this [for ever] makes a misery though never so little, an infinite misery, and a mercy, an infinite mercy. This betrothing for ever, shall be fulfilled in a visible church communion to the Jewes, and in the spirituall communion of Christ with the soule for the present. Of the visible form first.

Isa. 60. 15. I will make thee an eternall excellency, a joy of many gene∣rations. I thinke this is not onely meant concerning the spiritual happines of the Saints, but that God hath a time to make his visible church to be an eter∣nall excellency, and a joy of many generations, an excellency that shall ne∣ver have an end. And this their perpetuall condition, their enduring happi∣nesse shall arise from three grounds.

First, from the precious foundation that shall be laid upon that Church [ 1] when it shall be.*Isa. 54. 8. With everlasting kindnesse will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord; but mark the ground, vers. 11. Behold I lay the foundation with Saphires; all the rubbish shal be taken away, it shal not be raised upon a rubbish foundation. God will lay the foundations of it with Saphires, and then with everlasting mercy he will embrace that Church.

Secondly, that Church shall be in a peaceable condition, no rent, no divi∣sion [ 2] there, therefore in a perpetuall condition. Esay 33. 20. A Tabernacle that shall not be taken down, not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be remo∣ved: Why? the very words before shew the reason, Jerusalem shall be a quiet habitation.

Thirdly, this Church shall look wholly at Christ as their Judge, and their Law-giver, and their King. Isa. 33. 22. The Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Law-giver, the Lord is our King. Churches are ready to change, while they mixe other things with the worship of Christ, and the lawes of men with his laws; but when they can look to him, I mean in that which is Page  439 spirituall, as their Law-giver, as their Judge, and as their King, then the hap∣pinesse of it shall be perpetuall never to cease in this world, the Lord Christ will betroth this Church unto him for ever.

Though I verily think the holy Ghost aymeth at this in great part, yet we are to understand this betrothing for ever, further of the spirituall com∣munion the soul hath with Christ. When Christ betroths himselfe unto a soule, it is for ever; the conjugall love of Christ with a gracious soule shal never be broken: At the first, mans condition was such, as man laid hold upon God, and let goe his hold; but now God lays hold upon man, and hee will never let goe his. The bond of union in a believer runs through Jesus Christ, it is fastned upon God, and the spirit of God holds the other end of it, and so it can never be broken; This union is in the Father who hath laid a sure foundation, 2 Tim. 2. 19. Rom. 9. 11. In the Son who loves his to the end, Iohn 13. 1. In the Spirit, who abides in the elect for ever, John 14. 16, 17. Esay 54. 10. The mountains shall depart, and the hills be re∣moved, but my kindnesse shall not depart from thee, neither shall the cove∣nant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. My loving kindnesse shall be more stable with thee, and endure longer then the mountains themselves. It is as sure as the ordinances of heaven. Jer. 31. 35, 36. Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the Sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the Moon and of the Stars for a light by night, if those ordi∣nances dopart from before mee, then the seed of Israel shall cease, &c. And Jer. 33. 20, 21. Thus saith the Lord, if you can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, that there should not be day and night in their season, then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant. You have these three expressions of the abiding of Gods love to his people.

1. The continuance of the mountains. 2. The continuance of the ordi∣nances of heaven and earth. 3. Gods covenant with night and day. Here is the bottome of consolation to the Saints, They shall be kept by the power of God, 1 Pet. 1. 5. As if God should say, the speciall power that I meane to put forth in this world, shall be to uphold the spirits of my Saints, to bring them to salvation, certainly it is so. The speciall work that God hath in this world to exercise his power about, is to keep Christ and the Saints together.

Though it be through Gods power that the heavens and the earth be kept up, yet if God must withdraw his power from one, hee would rather with∣draw it from upholding heaven and earth, then from upholding one gracious soule that hath union with his Son.

The union that is between Christ and his people, it is too neere an union ever to be broken.* I remember Luther hath a notable expression about this: As it is impossible for the leaven that is in the dough to be separated from the dough, after it is once mixed, for it turneth the nature of the dough into it selfe; so it is im∣possible, saith he, for the Saints ever to be separated from Christ:

Page  440 For Christ is in the Saints as neerly as the leaven in the very dough, so incor∣porated as that Christ and they are as it were one lump. Christ who came to save that which was lost, will never lose that which he hath saved. Heb. 7. 16. it is said that Christ was made a Priest not after the law of a carnall commandement: That is, he was not made a Priest as the Priests in the law, after a ceremonial way, but after the power of a indissoluble life: Coeli vir∣ture,* by a celestiall vertue, so Calvin upon the place. The argument why Christs life is indissoluble, rather then the Priests in the law, is because they were made by the power of a carnall commandement, not by a Celestiall power. So those who professe godlinesse according to a carnall comande∣ment in a ceremoniall way, may faile, vanish, and come to nothing in their way of worship as many have done; but such as are professors of Religion by the vertue of Gods Spirit in them, they have the power of a life indisso∣luble. There are two soul-staying and soul-satisfying grounds to assure of Christs betrothing himselfe for ever.

First, when any soul is taken in to Christ, it hath not onely all the sinnes that it hath committed heretofore pardoned,* but there is a pardon laid in for all sin that is to come. There is forgivenesse with thee, Psal. 130. 4. There lyes pardon with God before hand for all that is to come, as well as for that which is past. There is no condemnation unto them which are in Christ Jesus, Rom. 8. 1. That is, there is no instant of time after they are once in Christ Jesus wherein it can be said they are under the sentence of condemna∣tion. Now were it not that there were a pardon laid before-hand for all sin that is to come, there might upon commission of a new sinne be said at that time, that now they are under condemnation; for if the least sin be not par∣doned, there is condemnation: but this cannot be. I do not say the sin is par∣doned before it is comitted, for that is a harsh & improper speech: for when we speake of pardoning sin, we speak of a work applyed to the creature, not of that which is in God: a pardon is laid up to be applyed by God when e∣ver the sin is commited, so that there shal be no instant of time wherein the sin∣ner is unpardoned, & so under condemnation. Then surely he can never fall off from Christ; for what doth endanger the falling off from Christ, but commission of sin? Christ hath as well merited at the hand of God pardon for any sin that is to come, as he hath merited pardon for sin past; do not say this opens a gap to licentiousnesse, then we need not care; No, the grace of Christ hath no such malignity in it, in saying thus thou speakest against thy life. The second soul-staying argument for perseverance is, that persever∣ance is a spiritual mercy purchased by Christ as well as any grace, Ephes. 1. 3. Blessed be God who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Jesus Christ. Now you will say, Faith is a blessing, and Humility is a blessing, and Joy is a blessing we have in Christ, why is not Perseverance a blessing, a spirituall blessing too? Christ hath as truely and as really layd down his bloud to purchase the perseverance, as to purchase thy pardon, as to pur∣chase any thing he hath purchased for thee.

Page  441 That which Christ hath laid down his blood to purchase, surely must be had, the purchase of Christs blood shall not be frustrate. Is there any thing thou hast by vertue that purchase? Thou mayest be as sure of perseverance, for Chrst hath laid down his blood to purchase that also.

Christian then satisfie thy soul in this, God gives the comforts in this world, but he gives them not for ever, but when he betrotheth thee unto his Son he betrotheth thee for ever. Perhaps the Lord in mercy hath made thy life here in this thy pilgrimage very comfortable in giving thee a comfortable meet yoke-fellow, in this thy betrothing thou art happy, but this happinesse is not for ever, thou canst looke upon thy yoke-fellow as a mercy of God unto thee, that makes thy pilgrimage sweet, but there must be a dissolution between thee and her; but thy union with thy Husband Christ is for ever, there shall never be dissolution of that. Perhaps some of you have lost com∣fortable yoke-fellowes, death hath come and snapt asunder the union be∣tween you, and you complain never woman lost such a husband, never man lost such a wife as I have, if you be godly you have a husband that you shall never lose, it is he that will fill up relations, he saith, Thy maker is thy hus∣band, Esay, 54. 5.

And further, this is mutuall, I will betroth thee unto me for ever, & I will give thee a heart that thou shalt cleave unto me for ever. This will afford unto us another usefull meditation, viz. When the Lord chooseth any soule to himselfe, as he setteth his own heart for ever upon thar soul, so he gives un∣to that soul a principle of grace to cleave unto him for ever too; to give up himselfe unto him in an everlasting covenant, Psal. 119. 112. I have in∣clyned my heart to performe thy statutes alwayes; Is not that enough? No, he must have another word to expresse the thing, alwayes, even to the end. Davids heart was much taken with the statutes of God, O Lord through thy mercy my heart is inclined to keep thy stautes, yea and it is so alwayes, yea and it shall be unto the end. It is a kinde of pleonasme, or rather the expres∣sion of the fulnesse of his heart, in his resolutions never to depart from God.

But what are those riches Christ bestoweth upon his people whom he betrotheth to himself? the bracelets, and ornaments hee putteth upon their necks and upon their hands are these.

I will betroth thee unto me in righteousnesse, and in judgement, & in lov∣ing kindnesse, and in mercies, I will ever betroth thee unto me in faithful∣nesse, aud thou shalt know the Lord.

There is much of the Gospel in this.

In righteousnesse.]

This according to some is understood, as opposed to dissimulation, Sine fuco, without any dissembling, in this he assures his people that they shall finde his dealings with them altogether right and equall, and so I expect from you, and will cause it in you, that in your dealings towards me, you be right and equall, there shall be nothing feigned betwixt us, all shall be plain, right, and just.

Page  442 You know there is often a great deale of dissimulation in marriages, great prffers, and promises, and overtures of what one should enjoy in the other, and when they meet not with what they expect, it causes great dissention be∣tween them, and makes their lives exceeding uncomfortable; But now saith God, there shall be no dissimulation betwixt you and me, I will deale with you in the plainnesse of my heart, and you shall deale with mee in the plain∣nesse of your hearts. So the word [righteousnesse] is taken in Scripture, Isa. 48. 1. They make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth nor in righteousnesse, one expounds the other, I will receive you againe though you have departed from me, in the very integrity of my soule, doe not feare me, doe not suspect me, doe not thinke though he make a shew of love unto mee, and of great favour, yet hee intendeth to cast mee off at last: These are the jealous thoughts of many troubled consciences. Indeed I heare of mercy, and God is working toward me as if he intended mercy to me, but I am afraid he will cast me off in the conclusion; No saith God, do not feare, do not suspect me, this mercy I offer is bona fide, it is in the very truth of my heart, therefore let there not be such suspitious thoughts be∣twixt you and me, you may be sure that what is fit and right for you to have from such a husband as I am, that doth belong to such a Spouse as I professe to take you to be, you shall certainly have it, you need not be afraid, for you shall have plain and upright dealing with me. This I take to bee one part though not all of the meaning of the holy Ghost here, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousnesse, that love I professe to you I do not do it to mock you saith God, but I do it in truth. From whence the notes which are very usefull may be,

First,* guilty hearts are full of suspitions of Gods reall meaning in all his expressions of love and mercy. They judge God by themselves. As they first slight sinne, because they judg of God by themselves, they see not such a dreadful evill in sinne, they think God sees it not: so after they have sinned, they judge of Gods mercy by their own, they think thus; if any had offen∣ded us so as we have offended God, though we might say wee would be re∣conciled to him, yet wee could not bring our hearts fully to come off to it, something would remain in our hearts, they therefore think so of God, they suspect God that he doth not mean really in his expressions of love and mer∣cy to them. But take heed of this, doe not judge of God by your selves, though you have a base and cruell heart, and cannot be reconciled to those that provoke you; it is not therefore so with God. There are these two e∣vils in sin, first in the nature of it there is a departing from God; secondly, it causeth jealousies and suspitions of God, and so hinders the soul from com∣ing unto God again.

Secondly,* God is very carefull to prevent all these suspitions in the hearts of his people. God desires that you should have good thoughts of him, and this is that we plead with you for, and do often open the riches of Gods grace to this end that you may have good thoughts of God, and to take off your Page  443 jealousies and suspitions of him, as if there were no reall intention in all the proffers of mercy he makes to you; doe not thinke that all those riches of Gods grace are meer words, they are certaine intentions of Gods heart to∣wards you. I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness.

And for your parts, I will give you a heart, you shall return to mee bona fide, you shal do it in the plainnesse of your hearts. There was a time indeed, as Psal. 78. 34, 35, 36. God complained of his people that they sought him and returned unto him, neverthelesse they did flatter with their mouth, and lyed unto him with their tongues, there was no reality in their returning unto him, they made great promises, that whatsoever God should say unto them they would do it, but there was no reality in it, yea but saith God, there shall come a time that you shall have righteous hearts, and that which you promise to me you shall promise really, there shall not be that false∣nesse in your hearts, those shews and overtures that were heretofore, but you shall return to me with all your hearts in righteousness.

God hath made adoe at first with us to make us believe that he is in good earnest with us in his proffers o mercy;* and much adoe there is before our hearts can be gotten to work towards God in good earnest.

Further note, this is one reason why God doth betroth for ever, because he doth it in the plainnesse of his heart; and this is also a good reason why the Saints continue for ever, because what they do to God is in the plainness of their hearts. Those who return to God in an hypocriticall way, will fall off, but they that return in uprightenesse will hold constant with him, Prov. 8. 18. it is said of Wisdome, that with her are durable riches and righteous∣nesse, they are put together; where there is true righteousnesse in the heart, there is durable riches.

But yet there is another thing in this betrothing in righteousnesse, and that I thinke hath more in it then the former. God will be so reconciled to his Church, as yet he will manifest himself to be a righteous God. In the works of the riches of his grace he will manifest the glory of his justice too; I will doe it in righteousnesse, though indeed the Lord intendeth to glorifie rich grace, yet so as he will declare his righteousnesse to men and Angels, that in this very work of his he shall be acknowledged by them unto all eternity to bee a righteous God; GOD will make such a way for this his love and goodnesse as that hee will have satisfaction to his justice in it. That place, Rom. 3. 25, 26. is remarkable for our purpose; Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood; How? To declare his righte∣ousness for the remission of sinnes. Marke it, it is not that he had set forth Christ to be a propitiation, to declare his mercy in the forgivenesse of sins; you will say, What is there in the forgivenesse of sins but only the mercy of God? Yes, there is somewhat else, there is righteousnesse too, and the Lord doth declare his righteousnesse in the forgivenesse of sins, and there∣fore it is that he hath set forth Christ to be a propitiation, that hee might de∣clare his righteousnesse. If the Lord should have said but thus, Well, you Page  444 are great and grievous sinners, I will be content freely to forgive you all your sins, this would have declared Gods mercy, but not his righteousnesse: but now when the Lord hath set forth Christ as a propitiation, and forgiveth sins through the blood of his Son, in this God declareth as much righteous∣nesse as grace. This text Luther had a great deale of do to understand, and he prayed much before he could get the right meaning of it; yea it is repea∣ted again, To declare, I say, his righteousnesse, that he might be just, & the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus; not that he might be mercifull in justifying him that believeth in Jesus, but that he might be just in justifying him that believeth in Jesus.

And this is the great mystery of the Gospel, this is that which the Angels pry into, the Saints and Angels shal admire & blesse God to all eternity, for the reconciling riches of mercy, and infinite justice both in one. This was that which set the infinite wisdome of God on worke from all eternity, how to find a way to save sinners, and to be infinitely righteous notwithstanding. If all the Angels in heaven, and all the men in the world had been put to it, to find out a way to answer this question, How shall sin be pardoned, the sin∣ner reconciled unto God, and God glorifie his justice? they could never have done it, but God in his infinite wisdome hath found out a way to doe it. This cost God dear, it cost him the heart blood of his own Son, and that was a sign that Gods heart was much in it, and indeed we are not Christians untill in some measure we see, and have our hearts taken with the glory of God in this mystery. We must looke at righteousnesse in our reconciliati∣on, as well as to loving kindnesse and mercy.

When God is reconciled unto a sinner, there is not only his mercy glori∣fied, but in that way that God hath found out to save a sinner, hee hath the glory of his justice as much, yea more then if the sinner were eternally dam∣ned in hell.

How is that you will say?

I make that good three ways.

[ 1] First, when God appointed a surety, his Son, and charged his debt upon him, to satisfie his justice, in that God would not spare this Sonne of his the least farthing token, I mean, not the least degree of punishment, he would not remit any thing to his Son, the Lord did hereby shew a stronger intense love unto justice, then if he had damned tenne thousand thousand creatures Suppose a malefactor comes before a Judg, the Judg will not spare the ma∣lefactor, but requireth satisfaction to the law, this shews that the Judg loves justice: but if the Iudges own son be a delinquent, and it appears before all the Country that the Iudg will not spare him, but he must satisfie the law to the uttermost, you will say the Iudge doth honour unto justice more in this, then in condemning many other malefactors. So when the Lord shall cast many thousands into hell, there to be tormented for ever, this sheweth that God loveth justice; but when his own Son shall take our sins upon him, but by imputation, & God will not spare him (that is the very word of the Scrip∣ture, He spared not his own Sonn, saith the Text) this declareth Gods love to righteousness, more then if all the world had been damned.

Page  445 Secondly, suppose the sinner that is reconciled had been damned, then the justice of God had been but in satisfying, and never had fully been satis∣fied; [ 2] but in that way that God hath found out to save a sinner, his justice is not only satisfying, but it comes to be fully satisfied, to have enough. Now it is a greater honour to justice to be fully satisfied, then to be in satisfying.

As for instance, suppose a man be a Creditor to one who owes him five thousand pounds, this man is poore, and the utmost he can pay is but sixe pence, or twelve pence a weeke; suppose the Creditor should lay him in the Jayle untill he had payed all, this man would be paying, but would never be payed so long as the Debtor liveth; but if another rich man should come and lay downe five thousand pound at once, the man is presently satisfied. Here is the difference between Gods satisfying his justice upon sinners, and upon Jesus Christ; God cometh upon the sinner, he requireth the debt of punish∣ment, because he did not pay the debt of obedience, God cast him into prison, the uttermost he can pay is but twelve pence a week as it were, that is but a little, and thereforefore he must be still paying and paying eternally, which is the very ground of their eternall punishment in hell, because they cannot pay enough in any finite time: Now commeth Christ, and he fully payes the debt, so that justice saith it hath enough, it is satisfied, this is the greater glory to the justice of God.

Thirdly, If the sinner had been sent down to hell, God had had the glo∣ry of his justice passively upon him, hee should be for ever under the power [ 3] and stroke of justice, but in the mean time the sinner would have hated God for his justice, and hated justice; but when justice is honoured actively, the sinner falleth down and acknowledgeth himselfe guilty, putteth himselfe un∣der the stroake of Gods justice, and accepteth of the punishment of his ini∣quity; now God is delighted more abundantly in this active way of glorify∣ing his justice, then if the sinner should have beene eternally in hell to have satisfied.

And now Devils and all wicked men must needs have their mouths stp∣ped for ever, they cannot cry out of God becanse he will marry himselfe to such sinners, this is mercy, but where is his righteousness? where is the glo∣ry of his justice? here is an answer to them all, though the Lord setteth his love upon vile sinners, yet so as hee doth it in righteousnesse. And this is a great encouragement to come in and believe, as thus, if the sinner be terri∣fied with the apprehension of his sinne, I see by them the wrath of God is in∣censed, and infinite justice comes upon mee, and I heare that crying for sa∣tisfaction; this bids the sinner know likewise, that God hath a way to satis∣fie infinite justice, and yet to save thy soul, he will marry thee unto himself, and yet he will do it in righteousnesse.

And this is a mighty helpe unto a sinner against all faylings afterward, a mighty establishment against a thousand objections the sinner may make against himself. Thus we must seek to God when wee seek for reconcilia∣tion, to be received againe when wee have departed from him, whatsoever GOD doth for us, hee must doe it in the way of righteousnesse as well as Page  446 in the way of mercy. Take this with you sinners, if ever you have a pardon sealed unto you, it must be sealed in the Court of justice as well as in the Court of mercy; therefore thou needest not appeale from the Court of ju∣stice to the Mercy-seat, for in that way of the mystery of godliness that there is in God reconciling himselfe unto a sinner, there may be as much com∣fort in standing before the bar of justice as at the Mercy-seat, that is, by stan∣ding there, in and through Christ, for he hath made justice propitious to us, and now it pleadeth to mercy for us.

And indeed this is the very work of Faith, to go unto God this way, when by Faith the sinner shall tender up unto God the Father the righteousness of JESUS CHRIST for an atonement and satisfaction for sins; It brings the comfort of justification this way. When you come to God in any other way but this, it is but in a natural way, not in a true evangelicall way; A man by nature may know thus much, that when he hath sinned he must seek unto God for mercy, to pardon his sin, or else he is miserable; but to seek unto God for pardon with a price in our hand, to tender up the me∣rits of Christ for a satisfaction to Divine justice, here is the mystery of faith; faith is not onely to rely upon Gods mercy for pardon, but this, I see riches of grace in Christ, and Christ my surety hath made an atonement, hath laid down a price, now by faith I tender up this unto God the Father, and by this way I believe my soul shall be accepted in him.

What a mighty ingagement is this for us to be righteous with God? the Lord betrotheth us unto himself in righteousnesse, & we should give up our selves to him in righteousnesse too. O my brethren, take this away with you, what ever you forget; If the Lord hath thus ingaged himselfe unto us in a way of righteousnesse, and if it hath cost him so deare to shew himself righ∣teous unto us; what an infinite ingagement is this unto us to be righteous be∣fore him,* to glorifie Gods righteousnesse in our conversations: I will doe it in righteousnesse, and you shall have such a righteous heart, as you shall ne∣ver be a dishonour unto me before the people, neither devils nor wicked men shal ever be able to upbraid me, that I set my love upon such creatures as you, because whatsoever you were, you shall be now righteous. When e∣ver we expresse our selves to be the Spouse of Christ, and be unrighteous in our conversations, we upbraid Jesus Christ, wee are a dishonor unto him before Men and Angels; what you the Spouse of Christ, where is this orna∣ment, this bracelet of righteousnesse then? whosoever Christ maryeth, he putteth upon them this Jewel of righteousnesse. Hee blasphems Religion which he seems to honour, sayes Cyprian; who makes not good in his life what he professes.